Monday, July 29, 2013

My Waterloo

Let me set the stage...
We brought home our very first brand new dining table in February last winter.  It was gorgeous.  I wanted a large table that would seat 10 people for when we entertain guests or have family home for a visit.  Cherish helped me pick it out while shopping together in Virginia, MN when I was down to the states in January.  The rich hues of the red mohogany stain in the oak wood matched our floor perfectly.  The leaf in the middle is a butterfly leaf that neatly folds under the table when not needed.  

The chairs are very comfortable with just the right support for your back.  I truly liked EVERYTHING about this table.... except for one little thing.  There were grooves like a frame around the main portion of the table as well as the butterfly leaf.  They weren't deep grooves, but big enough so that when you go to wipe the table, crumbs would most surely slip into them.  

I wondered if I should even consider purchasing the table because of those grooves.  Who would design an eating table with little troughs to catch food crumbs?  As far as I could see, it was the only flaw of the table.  Yet, I decided I should look around to see what other choices there might be since this was just the first store I had checked.  We only had about an hour to shop before leaving for Ely, so we had to hurry. 

After checking two other stores in the city and not finding anything to my liking or in my price range, we returned to the first store and this table.  It was a good deal for a beautiful table, so I took it, figuring I could fix the problem of the grooves.  

When I got it home, John and Joanna expressed their approval of my purchase, except John too figured the grooves would be a problem.  What could I do to fix it?  I decided polyurethane would do the trick.  I bought some clear satin poly at the hardware store and went to work.  Two coats later and the grooves were just as deep as before.  Where did the polyurethane go?  It certainly did not fill up the grooves as I had hoped.  

Determined to get the job done, I took a foam brush and went around all the grooves, dripping polyurethane only there to build up to the level of the table.  It took eight coats.  Now I had ridges over the grooves well over the level of the table.  It seemed the only solution would be to sand them level with the rest of the table.  After two hours of sanding one little spot and accidentally digging into the original finish of the table, urethane dust flying everywhere, I stopped and looked in despair at the mess I had made.  What was I going to do?  I felt horrible for ruining a brand new table.  But there was no going back.  I was in over my head and I knew it.  I fervently prayed, asking the Holy Spirit to help me, show me what to do and He did. 

The idea that came to me was to use a knife and try to cut down the ridge I'd made over the grooves so there'd be less to sand.  I took a fairly long knife and carefully, but firmly pressed the edge along the top of the table.  All of a sudden the knife was cleanly removing all of the piled up layer of polyurethane right down to the original level with the groove filled to level with the table.  It was actually fun to go around the table cutting away the poly.  In a few spots the knife nicked gouges in the original stain.  Ooops.  

After I finished removing the layers of poly over the grooves, I realized I had another problem.  Over the grooves, I was down to the original layer, but everywhere else on the table was the two coats of poly I had put on at first.  Now what to do?  I took the knife and carefully and slowly began scraping off the two layers of poly on the rest of the table.  It was like peeling a sunburn.  The layers came off in narrow one half inch long strips.  As you can imagine, I accidentally nicked the original stain in many places and after weeks of scraping, my new table looked like a scratch and dent mess.  People that visited me during this time thought I was absolutely crazy for doing such a thing.  But we are practical people and this table had to provide us with a smooth cleaning surface for use.

The first picture below is during this peeling process, but it was not at the worst. 

Even though I now had the grooves filled in with polyurethane and I had removed all the other poly so that it was at the original stain level, there were lots of nicks and scratches and the poly in the grooves looked white instead of black as they were at the beginning.  So, I took a ruler and a black felt pen and went over every groove with the marker till they all looked black again.  I found a can of red mohagany stain in a storage closet and went over the whole table to help conceal all the scratches and gouges.  Then I put about six layers of poly over the whole table.  The outcome was amazing.  People  who saw the mess before couldn't believe it was the same table.  I was extremely grateful to the Lord for helping me complete the project successfully.  Whew, I'm glad that is over!
The second picture below shows the finished project.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Big Boy

Jason Koskela caught this 41.5 inch Northern Pike on Indian Lake this spring.  I asked him if he could hold that pose for just a few minutes.  Ha.  That fish is might heavy, so I didn't want to take too much time to position for the picture.  It's torturous to hold them out in front for very long like that.  But as you can see, Jason was quite happy with his catch of the day.

Ever the Hard Worker

Our front steps have a new look now.  For some time we have noticed how a few guests have struggled climbing the steps getting to the office.  They might have a knee injury or have pains in their back or other areas and just needed something to hang onto to help them up.  So, John decided to put together some wooden rails as you can see.  Nice work, John. 

New Puppy

Look what just came to our house from Germany.... a 10 week old Irish Setter whose name is Scarlett.  After Joanna's previous Irish Setter, Saga, died, she decided she would like to have another one some day.  Scarlett's mother is actually Saga's sister.  They are such fun loving, happy-go-lucky, free spirits and have a zest for life.  Their cute little eyes, long ears and soft, silky fur make them so adorable.  Scarlett is getting lots of good training from Joanna and even some from our mature Beauceron, Sabre, who will not put up with any nonsense.  I'm sure he will also enjoy having another dog around to play with at times.  And we are going to enjoy loving on that cuddly creature.

A LIttle Diversion

Today I thought I would offer you a little diversion from all the fantastic fish catches and take you on a journey to our front yard where Joanna and I are packing in as many different kinds of flowers as possible.   Some are annuals and some are perennials.  We both love flowers and it's one of our most favorite trips in the spring to visit the garden greenhouses.  We mostly go to one in Dryden, but this year we had occasion to make a trip to Thunder Bay and found some more wonderful plants at a garden shop there.  I am presently working on sprucing up the entry to our camp with some all summer blooming plants.  It's a project that will carry over to next year for sure, but I love doing it.  When we see a flower we like and want to buy it, I say, yes, but where will be plant it??  I guess we'll just have to keep making new flower beds.  I can hardly believe the creativity of our God.  It's mind blowing but delights the soul.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Last Few Weeks

A week ago Dave Mattice and Don Larson stayed with us and had a good week of fishing.  The top six pictures show some of their catches and beautiful photography.  The bottom two pictures are Mike Lowney with a 44 inch pike and a nice trout.  The bugs have really been biting this year, so that must be why the fishing are biting so good.